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Sailing Under John Paul Jones is a swashbuckling non-fiction tale about Stonington, CT native Nathaniel Fanning.
Initially, Fanning was captured at sea and incarcerated as a maritime prisoner of the British during the Revolutionary War. His descriptions of that time are upsetting, but occasionally comical. A prisoner exchange placed Fanning in France, where he was recruited to serve under John Paul Jones on the Bonhomme Richard and subsequently participate in Jones' most famous engagement against HMS Serapis. As the "captain of the main top," he gave his eye witness account of the renowned moonlit sea-battle. The former Connecticut midshipman then proceeded to severely criticize Jones' character and the reasons why he and other shipmates developed a dislike for this iconic American naval hero. Fanning left Jones's command, joining our French allies as a privateer captain and finally a French naval officer. During this time, he related his many daring adventures punctuated by several misadventures.
The Yankee sailor also described life in George III's England where he briefly served as a quasi-spy for the French and also shares his observations of life the ordinary citizens endured in France just before its revolution. Finally, Fanning returned to America in an engrossing dangerous trans-Atlantic journey.